FX Excursions

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The Dirtiest Surfaces in an Airplane

by Allie Moore

Nov 2, 2015

© Paul Prescott | Dreamstime


Airplanes are pretty filthy places. Shared air space aside, the surfaces in the cabin can be some of the most germ-ridden havens and airline staff normally doesn’t have time to wipe down these areas between flights. The next time you board a plane, hand sanitizer in tow, keep alert of the areas that may not be the usual suspects on your mental list of most disgusting places on the airplane.


It’s no secret communal bathrooms are flooded with germs, from the toilet seat to the sink faucet to the door handle. Using a paper towel as a glove, protect the skin on your hands from coming into contact with these surfaces to avoid germ transmission.


A less-than-obvious surface considered to harbor the highest concentration of germs on airplanes is the surface on which you eat those delicious airplane meals. Germ studies revealed tray tables have nearly 10 times the amount of bacteria as the button you press to flush the toilet. Combined with your seatbelt buckles, your seat is dirtier than the bathroom.


To protect yourself from these germs, consider using napkins as a makeshift tablecloth. Wearing mittens may be bit overkill, but a quick spritz of hand sanitizer is wise after touching these surfaces. While it’s impossible to protect yourself from every possible germ aboard a plane, keeping yourself clean is a healthy step in the right direction.



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